During our annual CPO Rising 2017 Summit, we hosted our first ever CPO Honors Gala Dinner. During the Gala Dinner, four distinct CPOs and/or procurement teams received CPO Honors awards for their outstanding work and achievement in procurement in 2017, while two highly-regarded CPOs were inducted into the CPO Rising Hall of Fame. The CPO Honors were developed by Ardent Partners to recognize individual and team achievement in the current year. We were thrilled to honor these Best-in-Class performers. From leadership and innovation to technology usage and team performance, these four winners have demonstrated that top-performing procurement departments are a competitive advantage that can drive bottom line results.

The Innovation Award Winner: Walter Charles

The Innovation Award is presented to the CPO that has used new and innovative strategies and approaches to overcome the significant hurdles faced by the procurement function. The CPO and team that receive this award have demonstrated the ability to harness traditional solutions, new platforms, and have championed the adoption of these solutions to drive value beyond the realm of procurement. The 2017 winner of The Innovation Award winner was Walter Charles, CPO of Biogen.

Walter Charles is a highly-successful innovator who has consistently over-delivered in every procurement role that he has held. At Biogen, his global procurement teams support the purchase of billions of dollars a year of products and services supporting research & development, manufacturing, marketing, legal, capital, IT, plant operations, travel, and general and administrative services for the $11B revenue/year biotechnology innovator. His experience as an executive leader has helped him revolutionize the way procurement is managed. He has been able to quickly identify problem components of the procurement process/technology, and fixes them.

In 2017, Walter Charles championed the adoption of a new strategic sourcing solution, developed a plan that led to enterprise-wide adoption, and helped to ease stakeholder hesitancies. Charles tracked the technology adoption over time, visibly promoted results, and implemented a “Center of Excellence” team that stakeholders were able to leverage as an additional resource. He was also able to help the Biogen overcome some of its traditional hurdles to technology adoption, and in turn, increased the efficiency and effectiveness of sourcing processes. This ultimately lead to better business outcomes for Biogen.

Prior to joining Biogen, Walter has held Chief Procurement Officer roles at iconic companies such as Kraft Foods, Kellogg’s, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Supply Chain, and Cordis (one of J&J’s former medical devices companies). As such, he has the unique perspective of serving on supply chain leadership teams, and leading procurement transformations across biotechnology, consumer packaged goods, pharmaceutical and medical device businesses.

On behalf of the Ardent Partners team, I would like to congratulate Walter Charles and the procurement team at Biogen on this great achievement.

To see a few images from the event click here – CPO Honors: Stars Shine Bright at the 2017 Summit

The CPO Honors 2018 Awards Gala is scheduled for November 7, 2018. Please be sure to check back in early 2018 when we will be begin accepting nominations.


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